Conviction Sealing for Nonviolent New York Offenders
One of the most burdensome aspects of a criminal conviction is the requirement to report that conviction on job, loan, and housing applications for years to come. It can be difficult to turn over a new leaf when the outside world still perceives you as the person who made some mistakes long ago. New York state legislators have recognized this problem and are offering those convicted of a nonviolent crime a path toward sealing their record after they’ve established their trustworthiness through years of good citizenship. If you believe you may be a candidate for sealing, contact the Goshen criminal defense attorneys at Dupée & Monroe to discuss your case.
New sealing statute offers those with records a chance at a brighter future
New York has recently revised its Sealing Statutes with a new Criminal Procedure Law §160.59, to allow more New York residents with criminal records a chance to put those mistakes behind them. Now, those with a nonviolent misdemeanor or felony conviction who have gone ten years without a new arrest can apply to have their prior conviction sealed. Sealing a conviction means that, while law enforcement and other government officials may be able to view your criminal record in some circumstances, these records won’t be visible to the public through a background check, and you will no longer be required to disclose your conviction in nearly all circumstances. The new law is scheduled to take effect in October of 2017.
Qualifying for conviction sealing
In order to qualify to have your convictions sealed under the new law, ten years must have passed since the imposition of a sentence for a criminal offense, or since the completion of a prison term, if one was imposed. The applicant must not have been convicted of any new crimes during that ten-year period, and must not be facing pending charges when they apply to have their record sealed. Individuals can apply to have only non-violent offenses sealed, and can apply to have up to one felony and one misdemeanor (or two misdemeanors) sealed. If the applicant has more than one felony conviction, or has been convicted of more than two offenses, they are ineligible to apply for sealing. For example, those convicted of a felony DWI or possession of a controlled substance might be eligible to have their records sealed under the new law.
Sealing a record comes with challenges
Even with this change in the law, those who qualify to apply are not guaranteed to have their record sealed. The applicant has to file a motion that convinces their judge that their record should be sealed, and the judge has the right to say no. The judge will also notify the local DA’s office of the application for sealing. The DA has 45 days to object to the application for sealing, and can force the applicant to attend a hearing where each side must argue for and against having the criminal record sealed. Considering the possible high reward and challenges of obtaining a sealed criminal record, it is important to hire an attorney who is an experienced defender of New York residents and their rights under the laws and constitution.
Contact Experienced Hudson Valley Criminal Defense Attorneys for Record Sealing Applications
If you’ve been arrested in New York or believe you may be eligible to have your record sealed, contact the dedicated and diligent Goshen criminal defense lawyers at Dupée & Monroe for a consultation, at 845-294-8900.